Shameful use of Pakistan Flood Disaster to Gain SEO Links and Traffic

IMPORTANT: Donate money to the Pakistan relief charity funds, find links at the bottom of this post!

Update: I changed the title from Pakistan Floodbait: The End of The Info-Graphic into Shameful use of Pakistan Flood Disaster to Gain SEO Links and Traffic for the following reason.

Everybody who knows and works with me knows I like the Info-graphics trend in Link Bait. These visual representations of mostly data and facts about any kind of topic, makes the story so much more consumable for the average reader. And I know, as I’m the average reader, I include myself in this group!

There are so many people jumping on the wagon of Info-graphics as a form of link building, that it almost becomes irrelevant. The cool kids are already moving on, and finding new ways of building links. Info-graphics will soon lose its value on the Internet. Why? Because there are companies like DiscountVouchers.co.uk who try to gain links using the Pakistan Flooding disaster to get ahead and get more business (I don’t place any link, because I despise the company for its actions, see for full story below).  Take a look at the image below here.

At first sight, I liked the info-graphic as it calls to the attention to the major humanity problem which is greatly ignored; the flooding in Pakistan. The info-graphic is very clear and focused on the floods in Pakistan and lack of clean water or any help for the people suffering in Pakistan.

discount-voucher-pakistan-flooding Above the Info-graphic you can find the following text (original info-graphic can be found on:http://www.discountvouchers.co.uk/pakistan-flooding.html) :

Flooding began in Pakistan in July 2010 caused by monsoon rains affecting the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Punjab as well as parts of Baluchistan. It is thought that at least 2000 people have been killed and over 20 million are now destitute and suffering. We've created this infographic to demonstrate the scale of the disaster and the amount of relief that is still required. A link to a reputable charity can be found at the bottom of the graphic

Yes, they do place a link to a charity, a no-follow link! Let me correct these guys and place a good link to this charity, while I’m donating money at the same time. Donate for Pakistan Flood Appeal. I ask you all to donate to the flood relief as well, as more help is really needed! (More links for charity or help funds can be found at the bottom of this post).

One can ask himself what relevance discount vouchers have to the flooding and disaster in Pakistan. Are the Pakistani going to get a discount voucher from these Brits to any clean water? Is Discount Vouchers going to charter a plane with help packages of food after they got 10K links from this info-graphic? No, it does not seems so…

DiscountVouchers.co.uk is simply using a disaster in a far away land where so many people are suffering to get ahead in the search engines by combining this info-graphic for link building purposes. Their embed code is full of keyword rich anchor tags. Those keywords they would like to rank on…

DiscountVouchers - 2 for 1 Discount Vouchers

Here is the full code, where I removed any html links to prevent from passing on link juice.

<p><a href=" http://www.discountvouchers.co.uk/pakistan-flooding.html" _fcksavedurl=" http://www.discountvouchers.co.uk/pakistan-flooding.html"><img src=" http://www.discountvouchers.co.uk/DiscountVouchers-infographic.jpg" _fcksavedurl=" http://www.discountvouchers.co.uk/DiscountVouchers-infographic.jpg" border="0" alt="DiscountVouchers" /></a></p><p>Infographic by <a href=http://www.discountvouchers.co.uk/pakistand-flooding.html_fcksavedurl="http://www.discountvouchers.co.uk/"> DiscountVouchers - 2 for 1 Discount Vouchers</a></p>

As soon as one company gets a ton of incoming links using this kind of technique, competitors will follow to try to compete in the market place. And as soon as you go this route, it’s a slippery slope. Bam, Info-graphics are doomed! What has the world of link building come to; disaster relief link bait..?

I will know pledge myself not to get involved into any of these link building schemes, and will not link to this site, ever!

More places to donate for charity, clean water or Pakistan flood relief (taken from the list of The Huffington Post, I bet they don’t mind I’m copying as it’s for a good cause)

Update: I originally wrote the infographic was placed on DiscountVoucher.co.uk. This has to be DiscountVouchers.co.uk, which is a completely different site.

Comments

  1. Hannah says:

    So, so sad that they would harness terrible suffering to turn a fast buck. Or rank in the SERPs – amounts to the same thing. Ugh. Makes me ill.

  2. Andy Nattan says:

    That’s grim. It’s really, really grim.

    It’s just such a scummy thing to do.

  3. Kashif says:

    Its sad and true that there are vulture amongst us who do politics, and marketing on the dead.
    Informative post, by the way.

    And here is a frequently-updated list of charities, relief organizations, working for flood victims in Pakistan. (No spamm links, I can assure you of that)

    http://bit.ly/flood-donation

  4. Rob Simons says:

    Soulless, money-hungy, egoistic vultures. I am disgusted. Bah.

  5. Sam says:

    I don’t think it’s that bad. Is it not helping the cause? Alerting people of the problem and directing them to a charity is a good thing. Yes they no follow the link and include key words to their site but in the whole it is benefiting the cause.

    Would you prefer there was no mention of the floods?

    What have you done except create a negative post not actually talking about the issue?

    1. a1m says:

      A better approach would’ve been setting up a complete separate website, don’t you think? if the ultimate motive is to promote the cause and raise funds, then why attempt to get links from others with “keywords” irrelevant to the disaster?

  6. John says:

    Lol @Sam.

    He’s undoubtedly discountvouchers.co.uk SEO desperately trying to justify their poor action in his mind….

    This is worse than stinkbait….

    1. Sam says:

      If I had did this I wouldn’t have nofollowed the charity link and I would have also made it more prominent on the page. Just because I don’t agree with you doesn’t mean I work for them. Whatever I say you probably won’t believe anyway. I just think it is alerting people of a problem which needs exposure.

  7. Ciaran says:

    @Sam – no, this is terrible. They are doing this solely for base reasons – there are times when you shouldn’t try to get anything out of a situation, and this is one of them. If they had an ounce of humanity left in their dirty little souls, they’d donate a week’s worth of profits, or something, to the cause. They could have easily done this and placed lots of links back to the DEC rather than their own site.

    1. Dennis says:

      @Sam & @Ciaran,

      Ciaran is right. It’s the fact the website is putting a particular text in the embed code they would like to rank for in the SERP’s that put me off of the Info-graphic. The right thing to do here, is place a link in the embed code to the charity you would like to raise money for, so that more people will find it.

  8. Yuck. Incredibly poor taste. The infographic looked fairly good too (is it an original) but this is just SEO gone wrong, marketing gone wrong.

  9. James says:

    Absolutely disgusting!!!

    Bycott these scums….

  10. Most infographics are about driving traffic to the creator of said infographic, there’s nothing new there. The difference is this one has a slightly sinister twist – DiscountVouchers.co.uk don’t seem to be offering financial support to the DEC Appeal, they don’t provide a live link to the DEC donations site and, really, what the hell do discounts at LA Fitness have to do with the floods…nothing.

    Hopefully DiscountVouchers.co.uk will see this post, in fact I know they will, and donate a portion of their profits to the DEC Appeal.

    1. Thos003 says:

      It could be innocent on their part. If so, then that would be pretty cool for them to donate a portion and they would end up heroes.

      1. Arnie Kuenn says:

        I agree with Thomas, could have been innocent/naive on their part, and if they wanted to prove it, make a donation to the cause. Wonder if they are even aware this conversation is taking place?

        1. Dennis says:

          It looks like these guys know what they are doing, so I’m sure they are aware of the conversation and are in full damage control.

          It would be so cool if the company behind discountvouchers would publicly donate a large amount to Pakistan Flood relief, or any kind of charity that benefits those people which are impacted by the floods.

  11. One has to wonder about the kind of person who sees one of the worst humanitarian disasters in recent history as an opportunity to get backlinks.

  12. Adam Tudor says:

    This is incredibly bad, however it’s been going on in society for years – it’s simply people trying to exploit others in times of need.

    Whether it’s cowboy boiler men robbing old ladies at Christmas or dodgy roof repairers trying to get a quick buck through a bit of scamming, there will unfortunately always be a part of society who’s first thought is ‘What’s in it for me?’ I guess this type of swashbuckling scum has washed up on the shores of linkbaiting and SEO in a big way and will probably keep on growing as more and more get on board and try to exploit the benefits of the needy.

    Sad state of affairs unfortunately.

  13. Jess Bachman says:

    As one of the most prolific and successful viral infographic creators on the net, I think you are over-vilifying here. I have been approached by DiscountVouchers before but have declined to work with them, however I think the nothing sinister about tackling issues that need attention like disaster relief. Infact I think that calling attention to disaster relief like Pakistan or Gulf Spill etc, is much preferable for infographic content than some mashup of data on iphones etc. What is the net effect here due to this infographic? More eyeballs on the Pakistation disaster, links for Vouchercodes, hopefully donations to Flood Appeal.

    Yes their link code is spammy and not good form at all. They should have included more descriptive terms of the content.

    However here is the problem that I have encountered in the space. Infographics are create at spreading good ideas. Unfortunately, many clients are not interested in creating content that isn’t relevant to their business. Also relevant companies in the altruistic side cannot afford proper content creation and promotion.

    I have been fortunate enough to have some more daring clients, but often when someone pitches me on creating an infographic on say, Prison Industrial Complex, I have to find a buy willing to foot the bill. I think Vouchercodes was doing the right thing in getting the word out on Pakistan disaster relief and hope more companies tackle such social issues with infographics in the future.

    1. Dennis says:

      “I think Vouchercodes was doing the right thing in getting the word out on Pakistan disaster relief and hope more companies tackle such social issues with infographics in the future.”

      I would totally support them, if they would have linked to the charity in their embed code. The link code is too spammy for me, and just gives me a bad taste in my mouth being a SEO working on stuff like info-graphics for link building or story telling.

  14. balls says:

    So you all agree that most of you seo people are scum and then you slag off people who make many people aware of something bad in the world at probably a large cost. How many of you donated anything

    Hypocrites

    1. Dennis says:

      I would fully support the efforts and even would put up a link if the site in question would put links to the charities in their embed code, instead of to their own site using keywords like: DiscountVouchers – 2 for 1 Discount Vouchers

  15. Rob says:

    Those guys at onlineschools.org do the same thing, and no one calls them out. They have all kinds of bizarre infographics and none relate to education. All they do is push for profit schools like University of Phoenix, which are overpriced and no one graduates.

  16. AdamWarne says:

    I do agree this is something shameless. But there is nothing wrong in it, its simply a business n nothing is wrong in getting links along with the business …its fine…….. Might be possible that they might have done it for the purpose of charity ….. The world is two way traffic …nothing is one way

  17. TallTroll says:

    Soooo… linkbait is wrong, but you have nothing to say about the culture and regime that allowed the poorly planned development in Pakistan that is one of the root caues of the actual suffering in the first place? Interesting perspective there

    1. Dennis says:

      @TallRoll,

      I guess you are right, but that subject would not be possible to describe in a short post, or even on this whole blog.

  18. Cathi Rausin says:

    Does your website have a contact page? I’m having problems locating it but, I’d like to shoot you an email. I’ve got some creative ideas for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great website and I look forward to seeing it improve over time.

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